Ninebark’s food is a big departure from chef Matthew Lightner’s last menu at Atera, where he earned two Michelin stars and focused on precious, highly avant-garde preparations. Here, Lightner is focusing on "really simple, delicious food," he told Eater. That’s not to say he won’t be applying his unique spin, but expect to see more "fun, approachable" food that's often grilled, smoked and perfumed. "We’re just looking at everything with a new perspective and wanted to get back to the basics," he said. "You have to be able to say, ‘Yes, we take ourselves seriously, but not that seriously.’ You might get something you have a preconceived notion about, like, ‘Okay, I’ve had a million tartares, but then you get this one and you’re like, ‘Oh, wow, it’s beautiful.’ We wanted to bring that detail and that intensity toward really simple, delicious food.’"
That tartare he’s talking about mixes lobster, tuna and steak in a take on a seven-layer dip. "I think people are too self-conscious to be like, ‘I love seven layer dip,’ but it’s like that. It’s layered with all these proteins and lots of different textures and flavors and really fun to eat," he said. Other menu items that Lightner called out as must-orders were the burger, a mix of aged beef, brisket short rib, bone marrow and tendon, which he chose as his birthday meal yesterday, and the smoked seafood platter, dumplings and roast duck.
The three floors of Ninebark each have a different focus. The first and third floors offer the "Provisions" menu, which is more snackable than the main dinner menu in the second floor dining room. Drinks on the ground floor, which is more relaxed than the two above, are a little simpler and inspired by Lightner’s cooking with twists like smoked pineapple for the pina colada. The third floor rooftop bar has more complex drinks from head barman Andrew Salazar, like the Old Ball Game, which combines popcorn and peanut-infused rye whiskey, demerara and leather bitters.
Ninebark is currently soft opening for friends and family, with its grand opening on Tuesday, October 13. Check out the full menus below.